Chess history

The game of chess has been around for about 1500 years. This is something that the community of RookieRook is very happy about and we believe that we might get 1500 more years of it.

Where it all began

Since it was such a long time ago when the magnificent game was invented, the origin of said game is not 100% certain.

There’s theories about chess originating in India back in the 7th century. Where they believe that the game was spread over to Persia. With the Muslim conquests over Europe, the game also managed to get quite the spread in other parts of the world.

The Chess we know today has it’s first version of itself presented as chaturanga”

The exact rules of chaturanga is not clear, but we do know the starting setup:

Classic chessboard and chess set

Here’s the names of the different pieces that we know of today:
Raja -> King
Mantri / Senapati -> Queen
Ratha -> Rook
Gaja -> Bishop
Ashiva -> Knight
Padàti / Bhata -> Pawn

During the current 1500 year period of having chess in our lives, there’s been a number of times that the game has evolved as more people started playing it

  • 550 AD: Northwestern India
  • 600AD: First clear reference to chess, in a Persian manuscript describes chess coming to Persia (Iran) from India.
  • ~700AD: Date of first undoubted chess pieces.
  • 800AD: Moors bring chess to Spain and Sicily.
  • 900AD: Early Muslim chess masters, as-Suli and al-Lajlaj write works on the technique of chess.
  • 1000AD: Chess widespread in Europe, including Russia.
  • 1300AD: First European comments on chess in sermons and stories.
  • 1475–1500AD: Birth of the modern game: especially, new moves for queen and bishop.
  • 1495: First printed chess book.
  • 1497: First printed chess book to survive to the present day.
  • 1600: First professional player-writers.
  • 1780s: First master games to be recorded as they were played.
  • 1836: First chess magazine.
  • 1849: First US chess tournament.
  • 1851: First international chess tournament.
  • 1866: First match to be timed by clock.
  • 1883: First tournament to use specially designed chess clocks.
  • 1886: First acknowledged world championship match.
  • 1927: First chess Olympiad, with FIDE as the organisers.
  • 1960: Numerical rating of players becomes standard.

What are the ranks in chess?

LEVELBCF gradesELOUSCF classEastern European category
{D} MinorBCF 75-100ELO 1625-1750Class D or Ccategory 4
{C} IntermediateBCF 100-125ELO 1750-1875Class C or Bcategory 3
{B} MajorBCF 125-150ELO 1875-2000Class B or Acategory 2
{A} CountyBCF 150-175ELO 2000-2125Class A or Expertcategory 1
Top county playersBCF 175-200ELO 2125-2250Expert or NMCandidate Master
  ELO 2200-2300US NM or SMNational Master
  ELO 2300-2400US SM (USCF 2400+)National Master
International MasterBCF 220-240ELO 2360-2520  
GrandmasterBCF 240-250ELO 2520-2600  
Super-GMBCF 250-270ELO 2600-2700+  

Thanks to Dr. Dave at 

Who was the first chess Grandmaster?

Since 1950, when the Grandmaster (GM) title was introduced by FIDE, one measure of chess prodigies is the age at which they gain the GM title. Below are players who have held the record for the youngest grandmaster.

In the Ostend tournament of 1907 the term grandmaster (Großmeister in German) was used. The tournament was divided into two sections: the Championship Tournament and the Masters’ Tournament. The Championship section was for players who had previously won an international tournament. Siegbert Tarrasch won the Championship section, over Carl Schlechter, Dawid Janowski, Frank Marshall, Amos Burn, and Mikhail Chigorin. These players were described as grandmasters for the purposes of the tournament.

By some accounts, in the St. Petersburg 1914 chess tournament, the title “Grandmaster” was formally conferred by Russian Tsar Nicholas II, who had partially funded the tournament. The Tsar reportedly awarded the title to the five finalists.

Which means that the first 5 Grandmasters were:
Emanuel Lasker, José Raúl Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Siegbert Tarrasch, and Frank Marshall.